Meet the NHIMA Treasurer, the NHIMA Webmaster and the NHIMA Newsletter Editor. All three are contract employees for New Horizons International Music Association. Click any name below to read about that person. You can send an e-mail to any of them by clicking their name in their biography.
William (Bill) Gates
I began playing the cornet when I was in the 4th grade in Newton, Iowa and continued playing either trumpet or cornet with the Newton Grade School, Junior High, and High School Bands as well as the High School Orchestra. I was accepted and played with the 1960 & 1961 “Iowa All State Bands” and also played with the Drake University Band while earning a business administration degree. The horn was then sat aside for nearly 40 years while my attention turned to career and family. I worked for the GuideOne Insurance Group for 40 years, starting as a part time mail & supply clerk and ending as the Operations Officer of their life insurance company when I retired 40 years later. I am also a retired Command Sergeant Major, from the US Army Reserve.
Shortly before my retirement, our local newspaper featured an article about the recently formed “Des Moines New Horizons Band.” That article, along with the anticipated “free” time that retirement would bring, was all that it took for me to join up. It only took a few months before my wife dusted off her son’s old flute and also joined. Bobbie was new to the flute, but not to music. Today, our music has become a focal point for us as a couple. We attended the 2006 and 2007 New Horizon Band Camps at Interlochen, Michigan and the 2008 Camps at Olympia, Washington and Chautauqua, New York. The social aspects and friendships that have resulted from our New Horizons membership are as important to us as the music itself.
Joining the Des Moines NHB was just what I needed to help me bring back some of my “Trumpeter” skills from the past. In Iowa, I also played with the Urbandale Community Adult Band and the “Iowa Military Veterans Band.” We moved to Oregon in November 2008 to enjoy the milder Oregon Winter and to be closer to our youngest grandchild. Both Bobbie and I are currently playing with the Corvallis New Horizons Band which we were familiar with from previously having sat in while visiting in the area.
John is the former Conductor and Brass Coach for a New Horizons orchestra at a music school in Washington state. John served as the Executive Director of the school for two years, and he was instrumental in establishing the New Horizons program there which includes an orchestra, chorus and bluegrass band. John has a B.S. in Mathematics from Eastern New Mexico University and an M.S. in Computer Science from Colorado State University. He spent almost 10 years in the computer industry after a 23 year career in the Army, which included such adventurous things as flying helicopters (Hueys and Black Hawks) and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes (with a parachute, mostly).
John is a lifelong musician, having started on trumpet and adding, among other instruments, the baritone, euphonium and trombone. His musical career includes performing in symphony orchestras, concert bands, Dixieland bands, German bands, wind ensembles, brass quintets, tuba/euphonium quartets, big bands and more, often as the featured soloist, and as a member of the world famous United States Army Band (Pershing’s Own) in Washington, D.C. for 6 years in the 1970s.
John has always been a very strong advocate for having participatory music a part of everyone’s life. Both he and his wife, Linda, were actively involved in the organization and management of another New Horizons Orchestra; he as the Music Director, she as a budding flute player, and both as members of the Board of Directors. John and Linda attended their first New Horizons Music Camp at Chautauqua, New York in September 2004, where John conducted the Intermediate Band and the German Band, and Linda played in the Beginning Band. John taught at the New Horizons Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan in June 2009. As a faculty member, he directed the German Band and the Brass Chamber Music Ensembles. He taught again at the New Horizons Music Camp at Chautauqua in October 2011.
John and Linda both play in the Rapid City New Horizons Band. John additionally plays bass trombone in the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra, trombone in the Northern Hills Community Band (Deadwood/Lead, SD), and euphonium in the Rapid City Municipal Band. John recently started and plays in the [Black Hills Brass], a professional brass quintet. He also plays at numerous other events in and around the Black Hills area. John was called to play trombone with The Temptations and Four Tops when they gave a concert in Deadwood, South Dakota in 2011. In August, 2012, John played trombone with The Happenings, a 60's group that had hits such as "See You in September" and "Go Away Little Girl."
Linda L. Johnson
I grew up in Hingham, Massachusetts, graduating from Hingham High School in 1971. Following high school, I attended Saint Michael’s College in Winooski, Vermont, graduating with a degree in English in 1975. While growing up in Hingham, I taught myself to play the guitar and sang alto in choruses in both high school and college. While at St Mike’s I organized and sang lead vocals for a band specializing in 1950s and 1960s music and also performed in duets at a popular campus coffee house.
I joined Air Force ROTC in college and following graduation was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force (USAF). I had no idea at the time that this would be a 20 year career in the USAF. I began my service tour as an Air Traffic Control Officer and about halfway through my career switched to Communications. One of the many highlights of this time was my final assignment at the White House Communications Agency where I supported Presidents George Bush (Sr.) and Bill Clinton in Washington D.C. at the White House as a Presidential Communications Officer and Commander, Audiovisual Unit.
During Air Traffic Control advanced training at Castle AFB in Merced, CA in 1977, I met my future husband Mark who was attending KC-135 navigator transition training. Mark is also a 20 year Air Force veteran and we were very lucky to be together during most of our time in the Air Force. We have two grown daughters, Holly and Sara, who both have their own families now. We are blessed with three beautiful grandchildren, Zoe (age 6), Ezra (age 3), and the latest addition, Sophia (two months old).
Retiring from the Air Force in 1994, we remained in the Washington D.C. area for another 16 years working for the Defense community as civilian contractors. In 2010, we finally had enough of the overcrowded east coast and found an amazing retirement location in sight of the Rocky Mountains in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was here in Fort Collins that I decided to take my 30 year love affair of taking photographs and writing and start a photography business and do freelance writing and photography assignments.
Shortly after moving here I noticed a small ad for the New Horizons Band (NHB) and suggested to Mark who played trumpet in high school that he check it out. He did join the band and was having so much fun that I decide to give it a try as well!
I decided to try the drums and after much hard work and with the help of a couple of great teachers, I performed in my first concert with the Northern Colorado NHB last spring. It’s been a great experience! Our NHB attracts wonderful people and we have made many new friends! Learning to play well is a fulfilling challenge that will last a lifetime.
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